We’ve built science advances co-developed with end users into our free, open-source tools to make the science accessible and useful in real decisions. Download our tools and check out their documentation here. Find more information about testing, validation, and application of these tools in our library.
InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) is a suite of models used to map and value the goods and services from nature that sustain and fulfill human life. It helps explore how changes in ecosystems can lead to changes in the flows of many different benefits to people.
InVEST is our general purpose ecosystem service modeler, but it is often used as part of a larger software workflow. In addition to the core biophysical models, InVEST has a set of Helper Tools to simplify these workflows. We are also constantly experimenting with new tools and new ways to make ecosystem service science accessible. Some of these workflows have been developed for individual users or purposes into releasable software we call “Tailored Software Tools”. Check them out below.
RIOS supports the design of cost-effective investments in watershed services. The Resource Investment Optimization System (RIOS) provides a standardized, science-based approach to watershed management in contexts throughout the world. It combines biophysical, social, and economic data to help users identify the best locations for protection and restoration activities to maximize the ecological return on investment, within the bounds of what is socially and politically feasible.
OPAL is a tool for quantifying the impacts of development and the value of potential protection or restoration activities to biodiversity and ecosystem services. OPAL helps identify mitigation options that can restore ecosystem service benefits back to the same people affected by a development project and tracks the amount of mitigation needed to meet biodiversity and ecosystem service mitigation targets. OPAL combines widely available ecological and social data along with the Natural Capital Project’s spatially explicit InVEST ecosystem service models to recommend offset parcels based on flexible, user-defined criteria.
OPAL is a generalized version of the MAFE-T tool that we built specifically to inform permitting and mitigation decisions in Colombia. You can download the MAFE-T tool, the user’s guide, and the related inputs: sample input data, carbon static data, sediment static data, nutrient static data, and nutrient static percent-to-stream data.
Mapping Ecosystem Services to Human well-being is an integrative modelling platform that calculates and maps ecosystem service supply under different landscape management scenarios. MESH has built-in scenario generation tools, multiple ecosystem service supply evaluation, visualization of output maps and automated reprogramming functionalities.
ROOT is a tool to perform optimization and tradeoff analysis. It uses information about potential impact of restoration or management change activities together with spatial prioritization or serviceshed maps to identify key areas for ecosystem service provision. Multi-objective analysis allows users to consider how to best manage tradeoffs between different project goals.
PyGeoProcessing is a programmable, open source, and free GIS processing library. We built it to support our InVEST ecosystem service software, but it can be used for applications unrelated to ecosystem services. This is a tool for developers, built with their needs and data in mind.
When translating policy to planning, it is often important to take guidelines (or “storylines”) and examine how they might play out across space. The Scenario Generator offers a relatively simple method of generating scenarios based on user-defined principles of where land changes could occur and the possible extent of these changes. It can be used to create alternate futures, the likely outcomes of which can be compared using InVEST. Along with our other helper tools, the Scenario Generator is available within the InVEST software package. ScenarioHub is a website that serves as a resource center and a workspace for users to implement scenario analysis in ecosystem services assessment. Here you can learn about scenarios and scenario mapping, find appropriate scenario tools using the tool database, and use the Scenario Generator Workspace to help facilitate the use of the Scenario Generator.
We strive to make our tools user-friendly, but there is a lot to learn, not only about how to use the tools, but also about how to use an ecosystem services approach in the real world. We have developed a range of offerings to help you get started and hone your skills.
Take one of our free on-line courses for an introduction to NatCap’s approach to using ecosystem service information to inform decisions. Learn about real-world examples to see how the approach has worked in particular places and see how key methods and tools helped effect change.
We are excited about new collaborations and convenings. It will take a large community of researchers and practitioners working together and sharing lessons to effect the fundamental shift in natural resource decision-making that we seek.
There is a broad spectrum of potential involvement with NatCap: from simply downloading and using our tools through to fundraising together to support collaborative work on new use cases, scientific research, and software development. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss collaboration beyond our on-line offerings and our in-person trainings.
A key piece of who we are is our people. When we’ve got a job opening, we seek creative, talented, dedicated people who work well on interdisciplinary teams and who love a good challenge.